England Women v India Women, 1st Test, Grace Road August 11, 2006

India women cling on for draw

Cricinfo staff

England 223 and 345 for 8 dec (Newton 85, Taylor 115) drew with India 298 (Goswami 69, Kala 69) and 187 for 8 (Dhar 57, Sharma 50)
Scorecard

India's batsmen clung on for the draw in a surprisingly nailbiting finish to the first Test at Grace Road. They were left needing 271 after England declared on 345 for 8 and had just two wickets left at stumps. After the opening days had panned out with great tedium, the last two days at last provided a worthy spectacle.

Rumeli Dhar and Amita Sharma battled valiantly to save the match after their top order had crumbled to 74 for 6. And at one stage, it even looked like they could possibly take India to victory. But those thoughts were soon quashed when Dhar was out.

Nevertheless, even a draw had seemed highly unlikely earlier on in the day when three of the top four made ducks and India were in the mire at 10 for 3, having lost their mainstays Monica Sumra, Mithali Raj and Anjum Chopra without scoring. Jenny Gunn took two of those wickets, and Laura Marsh the third.

Things were to get worse for the visitors; Marsh struck again to trap Hemlata Kala lbw and then Laura Newton bowled Goswami, her second wicket with her newly modeled off-spin. This Test is the first one she's bowled in for three years - and so far it's paying modest dividends.

When Beth Morgan then removed the battling opener Karu Jain lbw for 24 England's tails were up and they were scenting victory. But then came the fightback, with Dhar (57) and Sharma (50) putting on 77 for the seventh wicket. Dhar eventually fell to Caroline Atkins, but not before she had almost ensured safety for India.

She and Sharma shared a matchsaving display that ensures that the sides head into the second and final Test at Taunton at the end of August with all to play for.